1st Five Year Plan
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Introduction || APPENDIX (CH-4) || APPENDIX (CH-9) || ANNEXURE (CH-12) || APPENDIX (CH-14) || APPENDIX (CH-24) || APPENDIX (CH-29) || Conclusion
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Chapter 15:

I. Basic principles

Community Development is the method and Rural Extension the agency through which the Five Year Plan seeks to initiate a process of transformation of the social and economic life of the villages. The Plan provides Rs. 90 crores for community projects and proposes the establishment over a period of about ten years of a network of extension workers throughout the country. The object of this chapter is to indicate briefly the significance of the two programmes and their place in national reconstruction.

2. For some three decades rural development work has been undertaken by different branches of the administration in the States. Until a few years ago, the expenditure on development was meagre and rural development work was thought of largely in terms of particular items of improvement in village life and in agricultural practice, and special attention was given, for instance, to the number of wells sunk or repaired, for the supply of irrigation or drinking water, the supply of seeds or fertilisers, or the number of manure pits dug. Starting of rural credit societies etc. These are essential items in any rural programme, but there was no coordinated approach to village life as a whole.

3. If one goes back to the study of the efforts made before World War II in individual Provinces and States and considers, the experience gained in later years in Sevagram in Madhya Pradesh, in the Firka Development scheme in Madras, in the Sarvodaya centres in Bombay, in Etawah and .Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and other centres which are perhaps less well known, certain broad conclusions emerge. These are :

  1. When different departments of the Government approach the villager, each from the aspect of its own work, the effect on the villager is apt to be confusing and no permanent impression is created. The peasant's life is not cut into segments in the way the Government's activities are apt to be ; the approach to the villager has, therefore, to be a coordinated one and has to comprehend his whole life. Such an approach has to be made, not through a multiplicity of departmental officials, but through an agent common at least to the principal departments engaged in rural work, whom it is now customary to describe as the village level worker.
  2. Programmes which have been built on the cooperation of the. people have more chances of abiding success than those which are forced down on them.
  3. While the official machinery has to guide and assist, the principal responsibility for improving their own condition must rest with the people themselves. Unless they feel that a programme is theirs and value it as a practical contribution to their own welfare, no substantial results will be gained.
  4. Programmes largely dependent on expenditure by the Government, in which the elements of self-help and mutual cooperation on the part of villagers are present only in a nominal degree are shortlived. The essential idea should be the reduction of chronic unemployment which is a feature of rural life—through the practice of scientific agriculture and cottage and small-scale industries.
  5. Advice and precept are of no avail unless they are backed by practical aids—supplies of seed and fertiliser, finance and technical guidance for solving the farmer's immediate problems.
  6. Whatever the measures of the effort which the Government wishes to make, the best results will be gained if the programmes are pursued intensively, and practically every agriculturist family has its own contribution to make through a village organisation.
  7. The approach to the villager would be in terms of his own experience and problems, conceived on the pattern of simplicity, avoiding elaborate techniques and equipment until he is ready for them.
  8. There has to be a dominant purpose round which the enthusiasirfofthe people can be aroused and sustained, a purpose which can draw forth from the people and those who assist them on behalf of the Government the will to work as well as a sense of urgency. The aim nhould be to create in the rural population a burning desire for a higher standard of living— a will to live better.

II—community development programme

These lessons from the experience of the past have been brought together in the conception and concrete formulation of the community development programme, which has been launched during 1952. While the concept is not a new one, progress has in the past been hampered by insufficiency of available funds.

Size of the unit

2. For each community project, as at present planned, there will be approximately 300 - villages with a total area of about 450 to 500 square miles, a cultivated area of about 150,000 acres and a population of about 200,000. The project area is conceived as being divided into 3 Development Blocks, each consisting of about 100 villages and a population"of about ^0,000 to 70,000. The Development Block is, in turn, divided into gioups of 5 villages each, each group being the field of operation for a village level worker.

Location of Units

3. The initial programme has been started with approximately 55 Projects of rural development located in select areas in the several States of India. A certain degree of flexibility is allowed in the actual allotment of projects. Thus, while many are complete projects of about 300 villages each, some are also independent development blocks of about 100 villages each, depending upon the needs pnd conditions of the particular areas chosen for development.

'4. As increased agricultural production is the most urgent objective, one of the basic criteria in the selection of this first set of Project areas has been the existence of irrigation facilities or assured rainfall. In assessing irrigation facilities and the possibilities of development, irrigation from river valley projects, from tubewells, as well as from minor irrigation works, have been taken into account. In States like West Bengal and Punjab, with a large population of displaced persons, the selection of project areas aims also at helping the resettlement of these persons. Seven areas have been selected on the ground ofthei' being inhabited predominantly by scheduled tribes. In every field of activity, whether social or economic, urban and rural development are complementary, for, neither towns nor villages can advance alone. Where the existing urban facilities are inadequate or where large numbers of displaced persons have to be rehabilitated, the intention is that the urban development should take the form of new townships. Six such projects have been proposed to be taken up under the current programme.

Under such rural-CMW-urban development, new towns will come into existence to serve as centres which will draw sustenance from the surrounding countryside and, in return, carry to it new amenities and the spirit of a developing and changing economy. The creation of new centres of small-scale industrial production, closely coordinated wilh rural development, is fundamental to national development, for in no other way can the present occupational imbalance between agriculture and industry, between village and town, be corrected. With the development of power resources and of communications and the growth of basic industries, the scope for establishing such centres will steadily increase and, as the economy develops, this programme will gain in importance. During the first few years, however, it is inevitable that by far the greatest stress in community development, as indeed in national planning, should be on rural areas. The intensive development of agriculture, the extension of irrigation, rural electrification and the revival of village industries, wherever possible, with the help of improved techniques, accompanied by land reform and a revitalised cooperative movement, are programmes closely related to one another, and together ca'culated to change the face of the rural economy.

Main lines of activity

5. The main lines of activity which wil! be undertaken in a community project, can be briefly divided into the following Agriculture and related matters.Irrigation.Communications.Education.Health.Supplementary employment Housing.Training.Social Welfare.

Agriculture and related matters

6. The programme includes reclamation of available virgin and waste land ; provision of commercial fertilizers and improved seeds ; the promotion of fruit and vegetable cultivation, of improved agricultural technique and land utilisation ; supply of technical information, improved agricultural implements, improved marketing and credit facilities , provision of soil surveys and prevention of soil erosion, encouragement of the use of natural and compost manures and improvement of livestock, the principal emphasis here being on the establishment of key villages for breeding pedigree stock and the provision of veterinary aid, as well as artificial insemination centres. For attaining this objective, agricultural extension service will be provided at the rate of one agricultural extension worker for every 5 villages.

One of the important functions of the agricultural extension worker will be to encourage the growth of a healthy'cooperative movement. The aim will be to see that there is at least one multi-purpose society in every village or group of villages on which practically every agriculturist family is represented.

It is expected " that the cooperative principle, in its infinitely varying forms, will be capable of adaptation for finding a solution to all problems of rural life." Multi-purpose societies will therefore have to be used for practically every development activity in the community project area, including the encouragement of rural arts and crafts.


7. The programme visualises provision of water for agriculture through minor irrigation works, e.g., tanks, canals, surface wells, tubewells, etc., the intention being that at least half of the agricultural land, if possible, be served with irrigation facilities.


8. The road system on the country side is to be so developed as to link every village within the Project area upto a maximum distance of half a mile from the village, the latter distance being connected by feeder roads through voluntary labour of the villagers themselves, only the main roads being provided for and maintained by the State or other public agencies.


9. It has been realised that the full development of a community cannot be achieved without a strong educational base, alike for men and women. The community projects have been planned to provide for social education, expansion and improvement of primary and secondary education and its gradual conversion to basic type, provision of educational facilities for working children and promotion of youth welfare. Vocational and technical training will be emphasised in all the stages of the educational programme. Training facilities will be provided for imparting improved techniques to existing artisans and technicians, both in urban and rural areas. Training centres which already exist in any area, will be strengthened and developed, and new ones established to meet the requirements of the project area.


10. The Health Organisation of the Project area will consist of 3 primary health units in the Development Blocks and a secondary health unit equipped with a hospital and a mobile dispensary at the headquarters of the Project area and serving the area as a whole. It would aim at the improvement of environmental hygiene, including provision and protection of water supply ; proper disposal of human and animal wastes ; control of epidemic diseases such as Malaria, Cholera, Small-pox, Tuberculosis, etc. Provision of medical aid along with appropriate preventive measures, and education of the population in hygienic living and in improved nutrition.

Supplementary Employment

11. The unemployed and the under-employed persons in the village community will be provided with gainful employment to such extent as is possible, by the development of cottage and small-scale industries, construction of brick kilns and saw mills and encouragement of employment through participation in the tertiary sector of the economy.


12. Apart from the provision of housing for community projects personnel, steps will be taken, wherever possible, to provide demonstration and training in improved techniques and designs for rural housing. In congested villages, action in the direction of development of new sites, opening of village parks and playgrounds and assistance in the supply of building materials, may also be necessary.


13. The training of village level workers, project supervisors and other personnel for the Community Development Programme will be carried out in 30 training centres .which have been set up with the assistance of the Ford Foundation of America. Each training centre will have facilities for about 70 trainees. Each centre will have double training staff so that the trainees can be divided into two groups. One group will be getting practical and supervisory work experience, while the other group will be utilising the centres' facilities for lectures, demonstrations and discussions. In view of the great demand on the training centres to turn out people quickly for the opening of new projects, the training period will, in the first instance, be limited to six months. In addition to the training of village level workers and supervisors, the agricultural extension service workers in the Project areas will take steps for the training of the agriculturists, panches and village leaders.

Social welfare

14. There will be provision for audio-visual aid for instruction and recreation, for organi-adons of community entertainment, sports activities and Melas.


15. Centre—For the implementation of the Community Development Programme as indicated above, the Central Organisation will consist of a Central Committee (the Planning Commission has been designated as the Central Committee) to lay down the broad policies and provide general supervision, and an Administrator of Community Projects under the Central Committee. The Administrator will be responsible for planning, directing and co-ordinating the Community Projects throughout India under the general supervision of the Central Committee and in consultation with appropriate authorities in the various States. He will be assisted by a highly qualified executive staff to advise him on administration, finance, personnel, community planning and other matters.

16. State—At the State level, there will be a State Development Committee or a similar body consisting of the Chief Minister and such other Ministers as he may consider necessary. There will also be a State Development Commissioner or a similar official who will act as the Secretary to the State Development Committee and will .be responsible for directing community projects in the State. Where the work justifies it, there may, in addition, be a Deputy Development Commissioner specifically in charge of community projects.

17. District—At the District level, there will be, wherever necessory, a District Development Officer responsible for the Community Development Prog,i cmme in the district. This officer will have the status of an Additional Collector and will operate under the directions of the Development Commissioner. He will be advised by a District Development Board consisting of the officers of the various departments concerned with Community Development, with the Collector as Chairman and the District Development Officer as executive Secretary.

18. Project—At the Project level, each individual project unit (consisting of a full project or one or more Development Blocks where there is not a full project) will be in charge of a Project Executive Officer. In the selection of Project Executive Officers, special regard will be paid to experience, general outlook, understanding of the needs and methods of Community Development, capacity for leadership and ability to secure both official and non-official co-operation. Each Project Executive Officer in charge of a full project, will have on his staff approximately 125 supervisors and village level workers, who will be responsible for the successful operation of all activities at the Project Level.

This organisational pattern will be adapted to suit local conditions and needs as may be deemed necessary by the Administrator and the respective State Governments.

People's participation—the crux of the programme

19. While on the subject of organisation, it is necessary to stress the importance of ensuring, right from the start, the people's participation, not merely in the execution of the Community Development Project but also in its planning. This in fact is the very essence of the programme.

'20. The Community Development Programme aims at the establishment of a suitable organ to e-.sure participation of the villagers at the planning stage. It contains provisions for the setting up of a Project Advisory Committee. It is intended that the Project Advisory Committee should be as representative as possible of all the non-official elements within the project area. In securing participation of the villagers in the execution of the programme, the Community Projects Organisation will avail of all non-official local voluntary organisations and especially the Bharat Sevak Samaj, which is likely to be set up in the project area on the lines indicated in the pamphlet recently circulated by the Planning Commission.

Villager's contribution to the programme

21. The pattern of the project as drawn up includes major items of works normally implemented through Government agencies. This is bound to involve higher expenditure through elaborate administrative staff, middlemen's fees and possibly in certain cases, questionable practices. If the people are to be trained to be the builders of the future, the works have to be entrusted, even at certain risks, to the people themselves through their representative agencies, the Governmental organisation furnishing the technical assistance and the essential finance. It is intended that a qualifying scale of voluntary contribution, either in the form of money or of labour, should be laid down and this contribution will be a condition precedent to development schemes being undertaken under the Community Development Programme.

In all these cases, contributions may be In the form, either of voluntary labour or of cash. In respect of backward areas and areas predominantly populated by scheduled castes and scheduled tribes it may not be possible for the villagers to make any financial contribution. In these areas, the villagers should be asked-to contribute by way of labour effort required for executing the works programme under various heads. The agency of the Bharat Sevak Samaj is hoped to become a major avenue for the organisation of the voluntary effort on the part of the villagers.


22. The estimated expenditure on a basic type of a rural community project, i.e., a project without the provision for an urban unit, is Rs. 65 lakhs over a period of 3 years. Of this amount, about 5 8-47 lakhs will be^rupee expenditure, and Rs. 6-53 lakh swill be dollar expenditure. The estimated cost of an urban unit (which it is intended to provide in a few projects) is Rs. in lakhs. Of this amount, the estimated rupee expenditure is about Rs. 95-55 lakhs and the dollar expenditure is Rs. 15 -45 lakhs.

In order to enable expansion of the programme in future years, the Central Committee felt that some reduction in the estimated cost of a rural community project, basic type, should be made and, after examination of the question, has now decided that oil community projects should be operated on the basis of a reduced total of Rs. 45 lakhs per project. So far as the existing projects are concerned, this would mean that the area of operations under each project on a population basis of 2 lakhs per project should be so revised or adjusted as to conform to the new expenditure pattern.

The Community Development Programme imposes financial obligations on the Centre as well as on the State Governments. Broadly, the proportions which have been fixed are 75 per cent for the Centre and 25 per cent for the State in respect of non-recurring expenditure, and 50 per cent each for Centre and States in respect of recurring expenditure. This applies to ' grants-in-aid '. Loan amount is totally found by the Centre. After the three-year period, the Community Project areas are intended to become Development Blocks on the lines recommended for adoption in Chapter VI of the Grow More Food Enquiry 'Committee's Report. It is expected that in so far as the Community Project areas are concerned, the expenses of such development blocks will be borne entirely by State Governments after the third year. The expenditure, mostly recurring, is likely to be about Rs. 3 lakhs per project.

Supporting projects

23. The Community Development Programme is related to and supported in part by most of the other projects under the Indo-American Technical Cooperation Programme. The fertiliser required by the Community Development Programmes will be acquired and distributed in accordance with the Operational Agreement No. I which deals with the " Project for Acquisition and Distribution of Fertilizer ". Similarly, the iron and steel needed for farm implements and tools will be acquired and distributed in accordance with the " Project for the Acquisition and Distribution of Iron and Steel for Agricultural purposes ". The tubewells to be constructed in the project areas will be allocated from the " Project for Ground Water Irrigation ". Information and services with respect to soils and fertilizer application will be made available from the " Project for distribution of soil fertility and fertiliser use ". Assistance in Malaria control in the project areas will be forthcoming from the " Project for malaria control planned under the Technical Cooperation Programme". The training, of Village Level Workers and Project Supervisors will be carried out under the " Vmage Workers Training Programme "


24. A systematic evaluation of the methods and results of the Community Development Programme will, no doubt, make a significant contribution by pointing up those methods which are proving effective, and those which are not ; and furnishing an insight into the impact of the Community Development Programme upon the economy and culture of India. In orde"* that it may be useful to those administering the Community Development Projects and serve as a basis for informed public opinion regarding the programme, the evaluation work is being arranged to be conducted by the Planning Commission in close cooperation with the Ford Foundation and the Technical Cooperation Administration.

III—National Extension Service

In setting out our proposals on the subject of administration of district development programmes, we have already attempted to analyse the organisational features of extension work in the district. The entire subject has been carefully reviewed recently by the Grow More Food Enquiry Committee. After examining the results of the campaign for increased food production, which has been in progress for several years, the Committee state the problem which extension workers have to meet in the following words :

" No plan can have any chance of success unless the millions of small farmers in the country accept its objective, share in its making, regard it as their own, and are prepared to make the sacrifices necessary for implementing it. The integrated production programme has failed to arouse enthusiasm for the reasons we have given. The food problem is a much wider one than mere elimination of food imports. It is the problem of bringing about such a large expansion of agricultural production as will assure to an increasing population progressively rising levels of nutrition. In other words, the campaign for food production should be conceived as part of a plan for the most efficient use of land resources by the application of modern scientific research and the evolution of a diversified economy. In its turn, agricultural improvement is an integral part of the much wider problem of raising the level of rural life. ' The economic aspects of village life cannot be detached from the broader social aspects ; and agricultural improvement is inextricably linked up with a whole set of social problems. The lesson to be derived from the working of the G. M. F. programmes thus confirms the experience of States and private agencies engaged in village development. It is that all aspects of rural life are interrelated and that no lasting results can be achieved if individual aspects of it are dealt with in isolation. This does not mean that particular problems should not be given prominence but the plans for them should form parts of, and be integrated with, those for achieving the wider aims. It is only by placing this ideal—of bringing about an appreciable improvement in the standards of rural life and making it fuller and richer—before the country and ensuring that the energies of the entire administrative machinery of the States and the best nonofficial leadership are directed to plans for its realisation that we can awaken mass enthusiasm and enlist the active interest and support of the millions of families living in the countryside in the immense task of bettering their own condition."

2. This analysis led to the Committee to propose the establishment of a national extension organisation for intensive rural work which could reach every farmer and assist in the coordinated development of rural life as a whole. The detailed proposals of the Committee on the organisation of the extension network at various levels have been described earlier. The programme envisaged by the Committee, for which the necessary provision has been made in the Plan, is that the Central Government should assist State Governments in establishing extension organisations so as to bring their entire area under extensive development within a period of about ten years. During the period of the Plan, about 120,000 villages are to be brought within the operations of the extension, that is, nearly one-fourth of the rural population. The Central and the various State Governments are expected in the near future to frame detailed programmes for reorganising the existing extension services, arranging for further recruitment and preparing training programmes.

In drawing up these programmes the Central and State Governments will have to examine the necessity for providing the basic training in agriculture and animal husbandry to the village level workers and the various supervisory subject matter specialists. Where existing facilities are inadequate, steps will have to be taken to augment them with a view to ensuring an adequate supply of extension workers for each major linguistic region. There is little doubt that the implementation of these proposals can give a new and powerful momentum to all rural work and, in particular, to the programme for increaeds agricultural production.

3. The organisation of extension services with the object of securing increased production and raising the standard of village life is a new undertaking. Extension is a continuous process designed to make the rural people aware of their problems, and indicating to them ways and means by which they can solve them. It thus involves not only education of the rural people in determining their problems and the methods of solving them, but also inspiring them towards positive action in doing so. It is, therefore, of the highest importance that for this task, personnel of the right type should be obtained who will take to their work with zeal and enthusiasm. The qualities required are not only the ability to acquire knowledge but also dedication to the task of serving the rural people and the development of a will to find solutions for their problems. People from village surroundings with experience of practical farming are likely to prove of special value as extension workers.

4. The training of extension workers requires the closest attention and must be related to the serivces that they will have to perform. They have to understand rural problems, the psychology of the farmer, and oner solutions to his various difficulties. They have to try and find out the felt needs of the people, and the solutions that they offer must be demonstrated by acting in close cooperation with the farmers. They should be able to discover leadership and stimulate it to action. Their success will depend on the extent to which they gain the confidence of the farmers. Their duties have thus to be educative and demonstrative. Their training will thus have many facets. Periods spent in gaining a thorough training will be a good investment. If the period of extension training is to be shortened, so as to be able to cover a larger area than may be otherwise possible, care should be taken to see that it is preceded by adequate opportunities for basic training in all aspects of rural development. Their conditions of service should also be such as are calculated to keep up their zeal and enthusiasm and ensure the continuous maintenance of high standards of performance. There should be considerable scope for promotion for men who start at the bottom. In order to develop the true extension approach much might be gained if all extension workers, whether graduates or field level workers, were to start at the field level and only those who proved their worth, received promotions to higher positions. A fair proportion of these positions should also be open to village workers who display the necessary qualities of leadership and ability. For this purpose, courses should be provided at different levels to enable the promising extension workers who start at the field level to reach positions of greater responsibility

5. It is important to secure that the extension service retains its character of continued utility to the rural areas which they serve. This factor should, therefore, be particularly borne in mind in judging the work of officials who man this service. Local opinion on the extent to which an extension worker has made himself useful should be an important criterion in assessing his ability.

6. The confidence of the villager is gained with difficulty and lost easily. It is, therefore, of the essence of extension that the initial start is made with items whose usefulness to the cultivator in increasing agricultural production has been well established. It is only after sufficient confidence is gained that comparatively untried measures can be put forward, and even these should be held out as experiments until the people have found the answer for themselves.

7. The -immediate effect of the first impact of an extension organisation is to increase the demands of the cultivator for credit, supplies and implements. The satisfaction of these demands is a necessary consequence of extension activities and they will succeed to the extent this responsibility is handled efficiently. Extension activities will be adversely affected if arrangements cannot be made for supplying the needs which they-generate.

8. Finally, it may be pointed out that extension workers have to be supported effectively by research workers to whom they can bring their problems and whose results they carry to the people. Special arrangements are, therefore, needed to ensure the closest cooperation between extension and research.

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